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SBC and Microsoft to Provide HDTV Over IP

samzenpus posted more than 9 years ago | from the more-wasting-time-at-work dept.

Television 267

Chroniton writes "SBC Communications (The #1 DSL provider in the US) is announcing new plans for broadband deployment, including internet, HDTV, and VOIP service: "With today's announcement, SBC will significantly accelerate its previously planned deployment pace and now plans to reach 18 million homes by year-end 2007. Through Project Lightspeed, the company will deploy 38,800 miles of fiber - double the amount used to build out the company's DSL network - at a cost of $4 billion to $6 billion."

This comes in response to an FCC ruling which shields IP-based networks from traditional telecom regulation. Speeds are expected to reach 15-25 Mbps, enough for HDTV: "To take advantage of this new network, SBC companies and Microsoft have begun testing an IP-based switched television service based on the Microsoft TV IPTV platform. This infrastructure would enable features such as standard and high-definition programming, customizable channel lineups, video on demand, digital video recording, multimedia interactive program guides and event notifications. IP-based television services will also allow TVs to interact with other devices in the home, including computers and PDAs." More details available here and here"

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267 comments

Sad news, Britney Spears dead at 22 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10581798)

Sad news, Britney Spears dead at 22

I just heard some sad news on Fox - Singer and Popstar Britney Jean Spears was found dead in her Louisana home this morning.

Apparently, the cause of death was excessive bleeding after a sizzling night of hot anal sex with her ex. boyfriend, Justin Timberlake.

"We were just having good sushi, and she asked me if I would please her", said Justin. Although he has since turned gay after his breakup with her, Justin was willing to please Britney as long as she would take it up her ass.

Following a night of sex for 10 hours, Britney sustained an injury in her lower vaginal area and subsequently bled to death. Her husband Kevin Federline, who is at the moment spending time at a federal prison for sexual advances towards Natalie "hot grits" Portman was not available for comment.

However, President George W Bush offered his comments on the incident. "Here is the reason why anal sex is bad and why gays are unAmerican, they kill Americans and American icons", he was quoted as saying.

There weren't any more details. I'm sure everyone in the Slashdot community will surely miss her - even if you didn't enjoy her work, there's no denying her contributions to popular culture. Truly an American icon.

*sob*

Hit me baby, one more time. I'll miss you, oh baby baby.

Indeed, Britney. Indeed. Rest in peace, child.

I call bullshit! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10581851)

Fact:

This has not been confirmed by Netcraft

If the 55 hour marrige to that hick from her hometown didn't kill her, no carnal gymnastics will.

Semiconductor stocks were flat today, which is not what one would expect should one of the leading authorities on semiconductor physics die.

Re:I call bullshit! (1)

Troll-a-holic (823973) | more than 9 years ago | (#10582134)

Could someone please write a Netcraft dying troll for the late Britney Spears, please?

Thank you.

The real question is... (4, Insightful)

elid (672471) | more than 9 years ago | (#10581803)

...how much will something like this cost to the consumer?

Re:The real question is... (2, Funny)

Kenja (541830) | more than 9 years ago | (#10581902)

"...how much will something like this cost to the consumer?"

As much as they're willing to pay pluss a dollar.

The other question: how crap will this be? (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 9 years ago | (#10581926)

Given the problems involved in doing VoIP, the mind boggles as HDTVoIP with its far bigger hunger for hbandwidth.

Re:The other question: how crap will this be? (2, Interesting)

kinzillah (662884) | more than 9 years ago | (#10582167)

Those problems are mainly because you're trying to establish a connection between two people going through god knows how many service providers.

streaming video like this is set up only on one provider, where they can control all the variables, down to the box they put in the person's living room.

Re:The real question is... (0, Flamebait)

isbhod (556556) | more than 9 years ago | (#10581929)

welllll.... lets see, Microsoft, rather famous for it overpriced crap, and SBC, also famous for overpriced crap, and not to mention their customer service which has atitutde that makes Napolean Dynomite look like the crown prince of whales {btw has anyone see older pictures a George W Bush and think 'damn all he needs is the glasses and moon boots.'} So from this combination of two great evils shall spring forth a monster of a telecomunication/entertainment the likes of which the world has never imagened. I mean even Chuthulu will say "Damn!". This venture can only lead to more sheep, and continued dumbing down of america and the world. Subdigation will no longer be a option, but a requirement, and you best bring your own jar o' vassaline when call the help desk cuz this time not only do they not care what you have to say, they won't have to watch what they say to you for the shall be the the almighty-mega-conclomerate-super-ultra-panultimate -super-power-grand-poo-bah of the communication and entertainment industry, and it is you who will bow to them if you want your "aqua teen hunger force" or your "simpsons" or your "south park" or your "fill in the subversive cartoon here" {i woudl say realtiy show but those that watch thsoe have already lost any right to free will in my book and need to have red dots painted on their heads so when the mental unstable snap and climb tall towers with high powered rifles they can be the first to go...but i digress} so um, yeah that's all i got to say about that, except this all just my opinion, i could be wrong.

Re:The real question is... (1)

fl3shymut4nt (823924) | more than 9 years ago | (#10582089)

Not too much as long as people who have SBC DSL keep moving out of thier service area and then get hit with that $200 early disconnection fee (SBC won't provide service over another Bell's line)

RTFP [sbc.com] before you digitally sign. (note the * at the bottom of the page)

Re:The real question is... (1)

gibbynoz (414645) | more than 9 years ago | (#10582152)

no more like, will SBC continue charging me for a phone line I don't want just so I can have DSL?

Not to mention... (4, Interesting)

Izago909 (637084) | more than 9 years ago | (#10581807)

I wonder how the broadcast flag, Microsoft, HD-TV, and DRM are going to play out.

Do you really have to ask? (3, Insightful)

sulli (195030) | more than 9 years ago | (#10582118)

Badly.

Re:Not to mention... (2, Interesting)

Wesley Felter (138342) | more than 9 years ago | (#10582131)

The broadcast flag doesn't apply to TV over IP, so it's easy to predict that the broadcast flag will have no effect here.

Cable and satellite are totally DRM'ed today, so DRM'ed TV over IP is not really any worse.

About time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10581808)

Korea alread has internet based hdtv, I'm glad America is catching up.

Glad I gave up on tv... (4, Interesting)

Yaa 101 (664725) | more than 9 years ago | (#10581812)

Time proves over and over again that things can get worse, and they do... I can't wait for the first stale DRM'ed virus stuck in their systems...

Re:Glad I gave up on tv... (1)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 9 years ago | (#10582002)

" I can't wait for the first stale DRM'ed virus stuck in their systems..."

Stale DRM'd virus? Wouldn't you guys be happy if viruses used DRM to provide copy restriction to other machines?

Michael Powell to change this ruling in 5...4... (1, Interesting)

ferrocene (203243) | more than 9 years ago | (#10581816)

I saw him on CSPAN once. Evil. Why do we allow father-son relationships in public offices? It doesn't rub right with me.

Re:Michael Powell to change this ruling in 5...4.. (2, Insightful)

mrgreen4242 (759594) | more than 9 years ago | (#10581835)

Well, Powell is a bad example, as is Bush Jr., but would it really be fair to say that just because you are someones son you really aren't able to do your job?

Re:Michael Powell to change this ruling in 5...4.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10582060)

It would be fair to say that you should have some appropriate prior experience to qualify you for the office which, from what I understand of Michael Powell, he sorely lacks.

I've seen Powell speak a number of times and he always manages to say something that makes me cringe. He's the head of a pointless organization that nobody likes and he knows it.

Re:Michael Powell to change this ruling in 5...4.. (0)

isolation (15058) | more than 9 years ago | (#10581836)

He was first appointed to a job at the FCC under Clinton. He was promoted during this administration because he knew the job.

Re:Michael Powell to change this ruling in 5...4.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10581854)

Because major political parties always engage in cronyism?

The same happens here in Australia. Union boss' son gets a plum senate job, etc etc.

wow (1)

poptones (653660) | more than 9 years ago | (#10581925)

I didn't even have time to hit the "post" button before my prediction came true...

Re:Michael Powell to change this ruling in 5...4.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10581995)

Mod parent down -1 trying to get modded up as a bush basher.

Powell became Chairman of the FCC before Bush came into office.

Idiot.

Ahh, I see... (3, Insightful)

l33t-gu3lph1t3 (567059) | more than 9 years ago | (#10581817)

So this is how they're getting around the godforsaken regulatory hell that is telecommunincations in the USA. Clever. And by partnering like this, Microsoft begins its battle to take over the digital TV distribution industry.

Re:Ahh, I see... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10581952)

Yup. Gotta love SBC. If you can't beat VOIP, join it.

Re:Ahh, I see... (1)

inKubus (199753) | more than 9 years ago | (#10582049)

Gates owns a large portion of Cox Communications if I recall correctly. They are a large cable provider. I've always assumed that "Digital" cable was probably just an IP based network for some time now. I know nothing of this, of course, but I would assume that it would be possible to just constantly stream multicast packets for each channel, each channel being an address. Then the cable box itself is just a router and when you point it at a channel you are only pulling in those packets to be decoded into video frames.

Sometimes you see like only a square or two of the video show up and the rest of the screen is black. This leads me to believe that there's a mosaic of sorts that gets sent. Probably each packet is at the MTU size with a few bits of timecode, a upper left corner coordinate and then 32x32 pixels of image. Thus you could actually have 10x10 or 100 streams per channel and if most of them got thru you'd have a decent picture (missing a few squares at most), enough to understand what's going on at least. You could even JPG each little square for less bandwidth and you wouldn't have the missing frames and other such crap that you see on internet streaming video. Then your audio could be on one or two streams with timecode as well.

It's good to have control of your network, and the cable company has one big lan that they have ultimate control over. They can do stuff like inefficient multicasting without screwing it up for everyone else like on the internet. I think cable has a pretty big bandwidth, in fact I think they run fiber to the corner in almost every case, with the coax coming off a little distributer router at the curb. So they would have no problem streaming 200 channels of 400-1mbps video and leave room to give most of their customers 5mbps internet connections. If it became a problem, they could just split the network up a bit so fewer people are on one fiber, which is trival.

Of course, I just made all this stuff up but I believe that's how I'd do it if I were the cable company. Leverage inexpensive gigabit cable and fiber routers, good old failsafe IP and you have an all around great solution. And it's already HERE in most cities !

I think IPv6's improved multicasting as well as improved, smarter routers will be able to take advantage of the wonderful multicast and open up free TV to everyone.

I applaud SBC for moving in on the cable companies, but really we need better stuff on the internet to really benefit as consumers.

Re:Ahh, I see... (1)

inKubus (199753) | more than 9 years ago | (#10582070)

In fact, thinking about it some more, to resolve the sync issue, they'd use NTP to sync the clock in the box with the clock at the main server. Then you could stream ahead like 10 seconds which would be enough to buffer but still allow you to "flip" reasonably well. Really though, the FLIP on digital is much much slower than regular cable and is one thing I HATE about digital. I can check out 100 channels in 30 seconds ;)

Re:Ahh, I see... (1)

inKubus (199753) | more than 9 years ago | (#10582100)

In fact, sorry about this, you could theoretically buffer 10 seconds ahead on all the channels immediately around the channel you're currently on (if you're on 10, buffer 8,9,10,11,12), then you could flip just like regular TV.

Already /. (5, Funny)

thammoud (193905) | more than 9 years ago | (#10581818)

Maybe they should string a fiber or two to their own servers.

Right... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10581821)

No, they don't want to regulate IP content the standard way. They want to suppress and regulate it in entirely new, more draconian, more invasive ways.

*sigh*

fucking windoze in SBC (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10581822)

man I am canceling SBC today the virus whore spreader

Too much TV (3, Insightful)

FiReaNGeL (312636) | more than 9 years ago | (#10581825)

For me HDTV isn't too exciting. Higher resolution. Ok. I never noticed my TV's resolution was not adequate. Don't we have too much TV anyway? With the added possibility to record (Tivo) 40 hours / week of shows that I don't have time to listen to... TV is a productivity and social interaction sink.

Hurray for the 'turn all TVs off' device!

Re:Too much TV (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 9 years ago | (#10581948)

It is your duty to consume, want more, but more etc

I don't watch any TV (no reception :-)), but I can see a similarity to those people who said "But why would I want CD quality? Tape or LP is fine!". I guess after watching HDTV for a while, going back to old NTSC/PAL will be hard on the eyes.

Re:Too much TV (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10582107)

i have trouble watching standard def tv now.
with a plasma 50" tv and the hidef tivo, the picture quality on shows like CSI, Law & Order, Lost, and all the hidef hbo films...it's unbelievable.
PBS in HD is incredible. watching great nature documentaries with the fully lifelike saturation and tonal quality that ntsc cannot deliver is pure goodness.

The cure for TV (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10581965)

In many ways HDTV will fix some of the major problems that currently plague TV. One of the big problems is that with a standard TV you can't see the blemishes and wrinkles that are present on any normal person's face.

I've watched HDTV newscasts at the store. It becomes very clear that the newscasters are human. They still have a lot of makeup, but their skin has that texture that *says* they have a lot of makeup.

On a similar note, reality programming on HDTV is quite raw. You can see how someone's anorexia has her virtually falling apart. Widescreen reduces the extent to which "the camera adds ten pounds." Someone like Ron Popeil comes across as an intolerable vampire of a man.

Another problem with current televisions is that you can't display very much text. The CNN crawlers significantly distort news to fit an antire item into 100 characters. This has always been a problem with headlines, but its gotten worse with crawlers because a) editors don't have as much time to check them and b) the actual story does not follow to flesh things out. Crawlers with even twice as many words will twist the meaning less.

So the question isn't whether you'll be sitting there watching TV and marvelling at how much more real it is. The question is what the effect of TV that's less removed from reality will be. For many people, TV is the only window on the world.

Re:Too much TV (5, Funny)

bujoojoo (161227) | more than 9 years ago | (#10582022)

TV is a productivity and social interaction sink

Posted on /.

'Nuff said...

Re:Too much TV (1)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 9 years ago | (#10582031)

"TV is a productivity and social interaction sink."

Re: Productivity- Uh, doesn't just about any form of entertainment fall in here?

Re: Social Interaction- TV is part of social interaction. Don't tell me you've never had a face to face discussion about last week's Star Trek.

Re:Too much TV (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10582042)

That's odd. I always thought of social interaction as a productivity and tv sink. And productivity as a tv and social interaction sink.

Seriously, get a bigger tv or a projection system and you'll immediately notice the inadequacies of standard resolution TV. Or, switch back to using a 320x240 monitor for a while and you'll quickly get the picture.

Verizon is doing the same (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10581827)

They plan on offering HDTV over fiber that they are currently deploying.

80-100Mbps in Japan and Korea (5, Interesting)

Dancin_Santa (265275) | more than 9 years ago | (#10581828)

Is there some sort of regulatory problem in America that restricts users to such low (25Mbps) DSL speeds?

Re:80-100Mbps in Japan and Korea (1)

lessthanjakejohn (766177) | more than 9 years ago | (#10581857)

25mbps? Not even close to that speed. We are lucky to get 1.5mbps with low latency... from SBC in Dallas

Re:80-100Mbps in Japan and Korea (1)

mind21_98 (18647) | more than 9 years ago | (#10581862)

More like the current infastructure. There are still a lot of old copper lines floating around, plus a lot of homes are too far from the CO to get DSL period (unless it's slow IDSL). The sheer cost of upgrading it all is what's stopping higher speed services from appearing.

Re:80-100Mbps in Japan and Korea (2, Interesting)

Dancin_Santa (265275) | more than 9 years ago | (#10582108)

So there couldn't be a slow buildout from high-population centers like NY or LA? I'd think that in those areas you'd be on par with cities like Seoul or Tokyo.

But it doesn't seem to be the case.

Re:80-100Mbps in Japan and Korea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10582125)

Nope. Plus, in a lot of newer residential US neighborhoods, the phone companies have to deal with their neighborhood "muxes", that multiplex all the analog phone lines for the neighborhood area together, with the net effect that DSL just isn't available to these houses. I had a house like that in Illinois (SBC land). Kind of frustrating.

Re:80-100Mbps in Japan and Korea (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10581908)

We don't pack 150 million people into an area the size of california. Regulations and infrastructure reflect this.

Re:80-100Mbps in Japan and Korea (1)

apostrophesemicolon (816454) | more than 9 years ago | (#10581916)

i dont know for sure about why it's such the case in the US, but if you think about it:

Infrastructure, Korea and Japan is a small country with big money, more than enough to lay high quality fiber border-to-border
Technology is more intertwined into their lives, so I'm just assuming the demand for faster, better internet service is not unsuprising

.. and I'm not even mentioning about rules/regulations that maybe not necessarily restrict, but perhaps indirectly hamper the development and deployment of better internet services (eg. licensing for faster speed maybe?)
in any case of technological advancement, the US most of the time ends up playing catch-up..

Reduced regulation = improved services? (1)

mind21_98 (18647) | more than 9 years ago | (#10581832)

Since IP based networks are exempt from regulation, does it follow that SBC made this announcement because of that? Sadly, if this is true, it's not really commonplace. In any case, 15-25mbps is more than enough for anyone, unless you want to run your own Web host. :)

Re:Reduced regulation = improved services? (1)

Nonillion (266505) | more than 9 years ago | (#10581923)

"15-25mbps is more than enough for anyone"

Now don't be pulling a Bill Gates, in 10 years 15-25mbps will seem like 56k dial-up.

Re:Reduced regulation = improved services? (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 9 years ago | (#10581935)

If IP based networks are exempt from regulation, how is it that Powell and the FCC are planning to regulate IP based networks?

The government WILL NOT let the telcoms or the big movie and television industries go out of business. They will welfare and legislate them into the new world, to keep out the small competetive guys and keep their iron fist around it.

Just be glad your mind is still your own. For now.

Two times the yay factor (2, Funny)

Sean80 (567340) | more than 9 years ago | (#10581842)

All I can say:

1. Yay! Now SBC will have another reason to call me at home 5 times a week and ask me if I'd like fries with my telephone service.

2. Yay! Is Microsoft in control of fucking everything now?

Re:Two times the yay factor (2, Funny)

urlgrey (798089) | more than 9 years ago | (#10582013)

Here, here!

Greeeeeaaaat. Nimda and CodeRed meet reruns of Seinfeld and Friends. Just what we all need.

-------

Re:Two times the yay factor (2, Insightful)

cmacb (547347) | more than 9 years ago | (#10582039)

As an expert on "YAY!" (using the term many times a day) I can assure you that you have nothing to worry about.

I don't think SBC is bigger in the DSL area than Verizon (who also partners with MS) and it (SBC)is a smaller company as well.

Remember the Dot-Com Bust? Well just before that companies layed fiber all over the damned place. It's all sitting down there with the earthworms being sold off for pennies on the dollar, so everyone in the "Comm" industry had "big plans" for how to use it. Remember we are all going to be downloading movies onto our TIVO boxes courtesy of Netflix. Why would we want to stream movies onto a box running an OS full of viruses?

I'll bet big money that SBC is taking ALL of the risk on this and MS will sit on the sidelines collecting a piece of the action... if any action actually materializes. And if it doesn't (which is probably won't) they'll walk away from it very quietly.

And, um, yes, you will continue to get those annoying phone calls.

dont want to ba$h but.. (5, Insightful)

DeepFried (644194) | more than 9 years ago | (#10581843)

think about how exciting this would be if you replace the word Microsoft in that article with any number of other companies..Sony, Apple, Viacom.

While no corporation is altrusitic, I wouldn't immediately jump to the "how are they going to screw me on this one" conclusion.
Sad state of affairs.

Re:dont want to ba$h but.. (1, Insightful)

mrgreen4242 (759594) | more than 9 years ago | (#10581919)

Out of that list, I would be equally sceptical of all of them... I like Apple and all, but if they were running this you could only watch HDTV on their new $5500 iTV, and if it were Sony you could replace iTV with AtracTV.

Now, if they replaced MS in the article with, say, EFF or the Mozilla Dev Team, I would get excited. ;-)

Re:dont want to ba$h but.. (1)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 9 years ago | (#10582058)

"think about how exciting this would be if you replace the word Microsoft in that article with any number of other companies..Sony, Apple, Viacom."

Why people think Sony is any better than Microsoft in terms of greed and desire for control is really beyond me.

Re:dont want to ba$h but.. (1)

DeepFried (644194) | more than 9 years ago | (#10582154)

Point taken. I guess I was thinking of the entertainment division (content). Also, while Sony makes many lame choices (ATRAC), the don't seem to be motivated by their compulsion to run _everything_. It could be argued that ATRAC is a "solution" to an interal political stuggle with the music division.

having said that, good point.

Just to get it outta the way.... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10581847)

the obligatory "Damn BSOD on my TV" joke

HDTV over IP? (4, Interesting)

ImaLamer (260199) | more than 9 years ago | (#10581875)

Already happening, here [tvtorrents.net] and here [no-ip.org] .

Re:HDTV over IP? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10582119)

those are not even close to hdtv... they look great and watch them on my xbox but, its not even a quarter of the resolution of hdtv... insightful? for shame.

Finally, I can feel safe (1)

panth0r (722550) | more than 9 years ago | (#10581880)

I feel so safe that these two companies are providing service, I know them very well and trust them with my software, now I just wish Google was involved so then they would also know what I'm watching.

Since it uses MS software... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10581883)

How often are we going to have to reboot and patch the TV? What about security vulnerabilities and viruses?

What is the expected reliability of the system?

Will it get the other providers off their duffs? (1)

Bob Hellbringer (320931) | more than 9 years ago | (#10581886)

Hell, if it gets the other guys to up their services to match SBC, particularly in a bandwidth increase, then it sounds fine to me. DSL at 256k is too slow for too much cash. A little competition could be good here, even though I'm not sold on the HDTV aspect of it yet.

ok IP TV how about makeing that IP wireless (1)

johnjones (14274) | more than 9 years ago | (#10581888)

I dont mean the the TV acting as a router (although in the situation above that would make sense)

I mean IP on your CELL / Mobile phone and TV images streamed to that

jack it in to watch on a normal screen... simple

in order to make money from this you need custom channels

not like they cell/mobile phone networks are doing now e.g. Orange just putting a digital TV reciver in the phone you need to stream custom content

regards

John Jones

Re:ok IP TV how about makeing that IP wireless (1)

toolo (142169) | more than 9 years ago | (#10581931)

http://www.longboard.com

This is good for me... (2, Interesting)

mrgreen4242 (759594) | more than 9 years ago | (#10581896)

because today I was wondering wether or not there is a cell phone that has a built in wifi system for VoIP... I want a single phone that lets me use unlimited VoIP service if I am at home or somewhere I am authorized to get on a standard wireless network and then when I am not in range of a wireless AP switches over to a regular cell phone network (keeping the same number) and bills me with on a regular wireless phone plan.

I think that a decent phone, with some basic web/email/chat features, as well as the cell and wifi connectivity would be worth about $150 (with contract discounts) and $60-70/month (with free long distance all the time, unlimited VoIP service, 500 or so 'anytime' cell minutes, and voicemail, call waiting, etc) to me.

Is there any sign of this in the near future!?

Re:This is good for me... (1)

Wesley Felter (138342) | more than 9 years ago | (#10582147)

Various companies are working on exactly that, but I wonder if it's worth it. Cellular/Wi-Fi roaming is so complex that it's going to cost a lot, which means they will charge you a lot for it. So in the end it'll probably be cheaper just to use a regular cell phone.

I want it now (2, Interesting)

DumbSwede (521261) | more than 9 years ago | (#10581897)

Over the air HDTV is just not robust enough, and in this area only one Station has any anyway. This is the future of not just TV but Movies as well. A good HDTV program on a good projection system is often a better view experience than the vast majority of crappy multiplexes, most of whom can't seem to get the focus right.

Broadcast is dying, I think this year is the tipping point (at least it is for me). With the exception of live events like Sports and News why would you need simultaneous broadcast over the air? Storage is large and cheap and getting more so. Download your favorite programs and watch them at leisure on a portable player.

I had thought this was at least 10 years away, but inevitable. Perhaps it is now only 4 or 5 years away.

OH NO! More FCC corruption! (1)

poptones (653660) | more than 9 years ago | (#10581906)

SBC and MS? I'm sure with those players it will be no time before the inevitable waves of screaming about that evil Michael Powell and the FCC playing into corporate hands, stifling our ability to freely communicate with one another, and just generally doing lots of mean things to us geeks...

bandwidth (1)

man_ls (248470) | more than 9 years ago | (#10581921)

They're not really going to deploy this over broadband, are they?

if SBC has a properly-installed multicast architecture, then it's possibly feasible, but do you have any idea the amount of bandwidth that's going to require?

Either they're running fibre to the door, and have datacenters full of the new clustering Cisco routers, or they're going to run into some hardware limits REAL fast.

Re:bandwidth (3, Informative)

Skeezix (14602) | more than 9 years ago | (#10582036)

Yes, it's called ADSL2 and I have it at my house in St. Louis, MO right now. Granted I'm on SBC's trial program for the next 3 months, but the speeds can reach as high as 24Mb/s which is enough for HDTV. They just installed the new DSL modem last week and are going to be ramping up speed over the next few weeks. Currently I'm at about 5Mb/s.

Re:bandwidth (1)

man_ls (248470) | more than 9 years ago | (#10582085)

I stand corrected. Thanks for the clarification!

Still so slow (5, Interesting)

cloudkj (685320) | more than 9 years ago | (#10581934)

The widespread mainstream broadband internet speeds are finally reaching higher levels, but the development process is still way too slow. By the time 15-25mbps connections roll out nationwide, Japan will already have their 100mbps broadband infrastructure matured, in place, and available to the consumers. Rather than focusing on the development of new forms of media delivered over broadband connections, I think the research efforts should be pushed into bridging the gap in connectivity between the US and Japan. Once the bandwidth pipe is big, other advancements will naturally follow.

Japan is non-sequitir...er... (1)

poptones (653660) | more than 9 years ago | (#10582091)

The people of japan are crammed together like NYC. and the money to deploy comes more from public funds than private.

What I find insane is the amount of hand-waiving (again) in this article by people who are declaring "the end of competition" and "stifling of deployment" even as the companies involved are declaring their intent to roll out BECAUSE of these freedoms from regulation these coal mine canaries are yapping about.

With regulation: nothing happens because it costs a fortune to deploy this stuff and no one wants to invest Billions of dollars and then have to hand over that infrastructure to the competition.

Without regulation: rollouts happen, people have infrastructure in their communities we didn't have before and the market is able to begin shaping new innovation.

But this new freedom in the market is bad because... well because it's good for corporations and that's ALWAYS a bad thing for "the little guy." Never mind this shit is outrageously expensive to deploy which pretty much has kept "the little guy" on the bench from the get-go.

I'm sure glad these "watchdogs" aren't running the FCC. You want to see nothing happen, put a bunch of socialists in charge of industry...

Slowness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10581971)

Won't this bog down the internet?

So it's starting (5, Interesting)

nmb3000 (741169) | more than 9 years ago | (#10582005)

As much as I wonder how this is going to play out in terms of cost and DRM issues, I'm glad to see at least a few introductory steps taking us in the direction.

I really look forward to getting rid of the old standard twisted-pair copper wire infrastructure that we're currently using and moving towards a "one connection for everything" system. Assuming we don't run into issues with monopoly-dictated pricing and/or start revisiting the old problems with massive telecoms, I'd love to get all my services through a single cable and a single provider, not to mention a kickass Internet connection.

How much federal regulation will eventually need to come into play to prevent history from repeating itself as with the telecoms? Should something as huge and important as the nation's information infrastructure be regulated directly by the government as the railroads were for a time?

MS failed at this before, with plain old NTSC (2, Informative)

sakusha (441986) | more than 9 years ago | (#10582006)

A friend of mine worked at a TV station that I am not permitted to reveal (but is right in MS's backyard somewhere). They had a multimillion dollar pilot project to use Microsoft software to deliver digital signals between the studio and the transmitter (and cable distro point) with dedicated, unlimited bandwidth digital circuits. Microsoft threw millions of dollars of research money into the project, it was to be their showpiece, to demonstrate how MS could provide end-to-end digital infrastructure for TV stations.

It was an utter failure. Despite the use of supposedly uncompressed video, everyone started complaining the picture was fuzzy and the audio didn't sync perfectly. The station abandoned the project after millions of dollars of their own investment, MS lost even more money.

And this was plain old NTSC video, not even HDTV. If MS couldn't get this project to work with the entire company behind it, what in the HELL makes people think they could succeed at HDTV?

Re:MS failed at this before, with plain old NTSC (1)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 9 years ago | (#10582105)



Unfortunately without any specific details (and if Micorosft really spent millions there should be a media trail -- those sorts of projects don't slip under the radar) this sounds rather incredulous.

Re:MS failed at this before, with plain old NTSC (2, Funny)

lavaface (685630) | more than 9 years ago | (#10582126)

what in the HELL makes people think they could succeed at HDTV?

I dunno . . . maybe 60 billion dollars of cash ; )

Re:MS failed at this before, with plain old NTSC (1)

NotAnotherReboot (262125) | more than 9 years ago | (#10582148)

On the flipside, one could take their failure as an important lesson that they will build upon.

I would think a project like this would actually be easier if it is digital the entire way through. Microsoft also has plenty of experience with streaming media these days.

I'm not sure how much this tale impacts expectations of this project.

Mom.... The TV has a Virus! (0, Flamebait)

BiggRanger (787488) | more than 9 years ago | (#10582030)

And every channel is either GNAA or goatse! It's bad enough having your Windoze box owned, maybe things will get better once Joe Six Pack TV starts getting is TV owned and everybody realizes how weak M$ is on security.

SBC will still be too expensive w/o Naked DSL (2, Interesting)

Cryofan (194126) | more than 9 years ago | (#10582037)

SBC is still stonewalling on allowing Naked DSL. And our gov't lets them get away with it. Why?

I propose (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10582050)

that we, as a community, stop using the offensive term "Microsoft". I propose we refer to it as a "tech company" or a "developing company".

I totally would have read this article if it hadn't been for that vulgar langague. It sounds both promising and interesting.

I am ashamed for you and the way you were raised.

Good News, Bad News (1)

poofyhairguy82 (635386) | more than 9 years ago | (#10582052)

Good News: We at SBC are finally catching the U.S.A to the world in broadband. Expect "Speeds expected to reach 15-25 Mbps."

Bad News: All this bandwidth will be wasted on fancy TV and Trusted Computing (TM) instead of your favorite Bit Torrent seed.

I'll wait for whatever cable does to compete with this, and then use that instead.

The other real question is... (1)

students (763488) | more than 9 years ago | (#10582064)

How much would it cost to serve video at those speeds? How many clients could connect to a server without losing quality? Would it be possible for independent media to afford the equipment for this service?

umm.. bandwidth issues (1)

pavera (320634) | more than 9 years ago | (#10582073)

I think they already deployed it and the HDTV streams are taking up all the bandwidth on their network... err maybe slashdot just blew up their DNS servers... who knows, I can't get to any site on SBC's domain, (and yes the rest of the internet is working for me)

speaking of which (1)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 9 years ago | (#10582078)

Speaking of this, I might as well mention that verizon has far more ambitious plans.

They are in the process of wiring several states with Fiber lines to the home to provide phone, internet, and in the future, television (most likely provided by some form of DirecTV due to verizon's recent dealings with DirecTV).

I believe service is already live in a few cities with reported speeds of 50mbps down/15mbps up. All for about $60/month.

This regulation should speed up deployment in a few states such as NJ, which have the networks in place but cannot be turned on due to the regulatory hell that is NJ telecom.

Being a Republican is a mental illness (1)

NessusRed (710227) | more than 9 years ago | (#10582079)

I've always wondered how Republicans could possibly justify their insanse political views. The only reasonable conclusion is that they are mentally ill, you know retarded like. I imagine its all the semen they consume. Its a scientifically proven fact teh average Republican consumes on average 2 gallons of semen a day and not all of it human. So in conculsion we should not be angry with Republicans, but shelter them from reality and make them stop sucking horse cock.

Evil, meet Evil. (1)

ThatDamnMurphyGuy (109869) | more than 9 years ago | (#10582092)

I must admit that the thought of paying for a single data [DSL] line and getting my phone [VoIP], tv, and internet over a single connection seems damn cool.

However, there is no way in hell I'm going to buy into HDTV via IP if I'm forced to use MS Media Center or the like. I don't have to use Windows to get to the internet. I sure wouldn't put up with having to buy XXX brand television to watch TV now, and I certainly wouldn't by XXX brand phone to place a land line call. Why should HDTVoIP be any different.

sbc and ms? i see no trouble here. (1)

Mysterian81 (823957) | more than 9 years ago | (#10582096)

Wow. This is too perfect. Two of the juggernauts of mainstream entertainment have decided to create a new television market, then dominate it before any competition arrives. It's the perfect scheme for them and me. It works like this:

1)The Joneses buy the SBC-MS box/service.
2)The neighbors catch on with a wave of advertising boasting reasonable rates that, unbeknownst to the consumer, are void inside one year.
3)The consumer realizes with growing fear that SBC is fond of the $200 cancellation-of-service charge.
4)The consumer's telvision becomes infected with a crafty virus disguised as a Simpsons episode.
5)The TVs of the world die.
6)I enjoy the ensuing silence with a quiet moment of Zen.
7)Microsoft claims that the virus is a feature, designed to limit the watching of television done by a household.

Everyone wins.

Doesn't SBC use PPOE (1)

Monkelectric (546685) | more than 9 years ago | (#10582104)

and therefore suck?

Re:Doesn't SBC use PPOE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10582155)

and therefore suck?

Don't you know how to spell PPPoE?

SBC - just TRY and get DSL from them in Michigan! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10582109)

"SBC will significantly accelerate its previously planned deployment pace"
So they'll actually install something next year? In Michigan, you have to live inside one of their COs to get DSL. I've been trying for YEARS. SBC is a joke. I can't believe they are the "leading DSL provider".

Verizon FIOS was first (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10582136)

This is Fiber to the house people. You are suppsed to be nerds. Wake up!!

SBC announces this every year. (4, Informative)

Animats (122034) | more than 9 years ago | (#10582140)

SBC announced this last June. [techweb.com]

And they announced it back in 2003 [fibers.org] "We plan to hit about one million lines by the end of 2003".

And they announced it back in 2002. [misa.bc.ca]

Stay tuned for another announcement in 2005.

This time they're paying back the Bush adminstration for the FCC deal that permits them to keep third-party ISPs from using their lines. The telcos have been lobbying for this for years, so that consumers don't have a choice of ISPs. It's an election year move, not a new development.

SBC has talked up a few fibre-to-the home trials, but even the small scale trials never seem to happen.

The cable companies could do this TODAY (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 9 years ago | (#10582141)

The cable companies could use this technology TODAY in the head-end-to-neighborhood parts of their networks.

This would make "video on demand" of every movie released in the last few years a reality, with minimal changes at the customer end.

Heck, it doesn't have to be "IP-based" for this to work either, any mechanism that sends just the bits required from the neighborhood switch to my tv and from my remote control back to the neighborhood switch is good enough.

This is why Microsoft is so damn rich... (3, Funny)

Zarf (5735) | more than 9 years ago | (#10582151)

I'm afraid this totally rocks. This is why Microsoft is so rich... they keep doing things that totally rock. Wow. It greives me to say it ... but wow.

It doesn't matter if Linux can do HDTV over a network and do it better (as if it could). It doesn't matter because Microsoft will be there first for the most people. They'll be there the most. They'll have all the deals locked in from server to client. They'll totally shut out HDTV over IP competition before it gets born. If you read Cringely [pbs.org] at all then you know that at least one if not a few Linux hackers have done this type of thing in the small.

But it doesn't matter now. Microsoft is a true kung-foo master. Unless the world changes radically and it becomes illegal to force people to use whatever EULA you want or to force out competition from your market place by using innovative and strategic business deals... Microsoft is unstoppable. It's like a dinosaur. What could stop the dinosaurs?

no way (1)

suezz (804747) | more than 9 years ago | (#10582157)

there is now way I am going to buy if I have put anything microsoft in my house. this is a joke - they are just coming up with ways to get our money - I have been thinking about getting rid of cable cause there is nothing on and just go back to local over the air stations. I got dsl through sbc and I have had no problems so I can't complain about that - but I wish they would cut the we don't support anything but microsoft and mac support tactics - this is microsoft's next big cash cow - when they loose the desktop they are going to lock people in with this crap. I don't understand why sbc had to work with microsoft - they could of done this on their own - but now they are going to lock people in to crap.

HDTV on IP - no thanks, I'd rather surf the net (4, Insightful)

Magickcat (768797) | more than 9 years ago | (#10582158)

Whilst developing all these new television technologies, perhaps someone will eventually consider that the majority of television programs are terrible regardless of their high quality sound and pictures etc.

Whether the program is interactive or on demand, or how it's delievered, doesn't matter to me so much as what I'm actually watching. and I'm getting less and less impressed every year.

I find myself watching less and less television, and using the Internet more and more. As for the phone, most people I know use it mainly to talk about television. I'm getting close to the point where I almost solely use email.

I'm not sure I follow their reasoning.... (5, Interesting)

SpecBear (769433) | more than 9 years ago | (#10582159)

So let me get this straight: SBC and Microsoft want to invest billions of dollars so they can show up late to the HDTV party and compete with cable and satellite TV? This is great for me as a consumer, more competition is better. But what's their upside? I must be missing something here.

My predictions:
  • The project will be plagued by delays and cost overruns.
  • Both companies will try to use the network as a means of pushing their own product and service agendas and wind up building something that nobody wants to buy.
  • SBC and Microsoft will bring their established customer service prowess to the table. People rapidly flock to service providers that actually pick up the goddam phone.
  • They get creamed by the competition. These are both companies that only do well when they have a tight enough grip on the market that they can screw any potential competition.

Headline sounds pretty cryptic (2, Interesting)

ICECommander (811191) | more than 9 years ago | (#10582163)

SBC & MS -> HDTV/IP ?
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